Don’t Let the Sun Set on You

Let’s get one thing out of the way, no one is immune to UV rays. Even if you cannot see or feel a sunburn, damage to the skin is still happening. The American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD) says that even on cloudy days our skin can still be penetrated by up to 80% of the harmful rays emitted from the sun regardless of age, race, or gender. Because of this, the US Department of Health and Human Services has declared UV radiation from the sun or artificial light, to be a known cancer-causing substance. To protect yourself from these harmful rays the AAD recommends using broad spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor greater than SPF 30. It is also critical to reapply sunscreen every two hours or as directed on the bottle/box. Also,  be aware that the likelihood of sun damage is increased around sand, water, or snow.

Other Tips:

  1. Check expiration dates. Old sunscreen no longer offers the same protection labeled on the bottle.
  2. Make sure sunscreen is water-proof, moisture on the skin may effect strength and duration of protection.
  3. Some skin types require special sunscreens. Be aware and be prepared.
  4. Babies and Toddlers are especially vulnerable to sun damage, be sure to take advantage of shade and clothing to protect your children.

If sunburn occurs, do not fret there are some tricks that may ease your discomfort. The  AAD recommends running cool water over the area to reduce the heat of the skin. They also say staying hydrated is key; sunburns draw water from your body to the effected area which can result in dehydration. Ibuprofen, Aspirin, or Tylenol are also an option to reduce discomfort, but make sure to consult dosing directions before any medication.


For more information please visit American Academy of Dermatology website (

Author: Thomas Walker

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